Located in the market town of Retford, Ye Olde Bell is a characterful 17th century country-style hotel, with a sleek modern spa. A perfect getaway for a cosy weekend break!
We checked in to our room, a luxurious and cosy double, complete with roll-top bath, and headed down to the restaurant for dinner. The staff were attentive, and the food beautifully presented, with a modern twist – we especially liked the rich vegetarian ravioli and the melting chocolate and cherry bombe.
The next morning we started our spa day with a delicious breakfast of eggs, fresh juices and pastries in Restaurant 1650, before heading over to the spa. We were greeted at reception by our spa butler, who took us to the changing rooms, which are large, bright, and spotlessly clean with all you might need – robes, flip flops, hair dryers, cleansers and cotton wool (good if you always forget to take off your make up like me!) and a swimming costumer drier, which is always a plus.
We relaxed with some complimentary herbal teas, before being given a tour of the spa. The spa is set over two floors, the vitality pool, and thermal experiences on the ground floor, and the treatment rooms upstairs.
We started off in the Herbal Laconium, a gentle intro to the heat, where herbs are infused with steam, before moving on to the Stone Bath, where mineral stones are heated, then lowered mechanically into a cold-water bath to release steam. The temperature and humidity were starting to rise, so we tried out the Snow Storm Walk, which was a welcome relief from the heat! The last, and hottest room is the Alpine Sauna, which is not for the faint hearted, with temperatures up to 95 degrees, I only lasted 10 minutes before moving on to the Shower Walk, which is a sensory experience ending with the bucket shower – a huge bucket of freezing water waiting for someone brave enough to tip it all over themselves!
Our spa butler then took us upstairs for our Sabbia Med treatment, a fun and unique treatment to boost your vitamin D. The room is filled with sand and decorated to look like a beach, complete with deckchairs, a seaside frieze on the walls, and beach sounds for a full sensory experience. For 30 minutes you’re taken through a sunrise to sunset cycle, where low levels of UV are emitted to give you real dose of sunlight therapy. We lay down on beach towels, and after the initial few minutes of getting used to the experience, found it deeply relaxing. We both nearly nodded off, and were reluctant to leave once our time was up!
Back downstairs we tried the Vitality Pool, a 10-metre indoor/outdoor pool packed with extras, including water massage jets, air recliners and a reflexology station. It was cool outside but the pool was the perfect temperature. Poolside, little Alpine chalets, firepits and heated loungers draped in snuggly blankets and faux furs are dotted around, perfect for unwinding with a drink or a book.
The Steam Bath was next on our agenda, a beautiful little room with lights studded like stars on the ceiling, where the warmth and humidity is great for the sinuses. After 20 minutes in here we were ready to move on to the Salt Inhalation room. A very tranquil and calming room, with comfortable loungers, where a salt wall simulates a marine climate.
We took a break for a fresh seasonal lunch in the lovely Herb Garden Brasserie – I had a delicious sage encrusted pork fillet with duck fat roast potatoes – served by friendly, chatty staff.
After another dip in the pool and a go on the foot jacuzzis, we were ready for our treatments. We were taken upstairs to a spacious treatment room where I had a facial, with products by Spanish brand Germaine de Cappucini who specialise in targeted and anti-ageing therapies. My friendly and talented therapist left me with glowing skin, while my partner had a relaxing and effective massage. Also upstairs there is a rasul room, to steam and cover yourself in mud and clay.
We left Ye Olde Bell feeling as though we’d discovered a hidden gem – the customer service and attention to detail were spot on, the treatments were indulgent and great value for money – we’re looking forward to a return visit!
Access to the spa starts from £55 and overnight packages cost from £149.50pp. Treatments range from £20 to £120. Visit yeoldebell-hotel.co.uk or call 01777 705121 to book.